Comparing Olympic Trials’ Top 3 Seeds From 2012 To 2016: Women’s


As with did with the men, we took a look at the top 3 seeds of each event heading into the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials to how they compared to what the U.S. had to offer at this same meet in 2012. Several key names are still in the mix for Olympic berths, while a few fresh stars are looking to make the most of their extraordinary opportunity.

Of the 13 individual women’s events, just 4 saw their top seed times fare slightly slower in 2016 compared to 2012. Both of the women’s breaststroke events saw former world record holder Rebecca Soni at the top of the pack in 2012, while this year the sprint is led by Katie Meili and the longer event owned at the moment by Micah Lawrence. While Soni’s entry times were 1:04.91 and 2:20.69 in the 100m and 200m breaststroke events, respectively, Meili’s seed time is 1:05.64, with Lawrence listed with 2:22.04.

The 200m backstroke is also slower this time around, at least as far as entry times go. The same top seed from 2012 is still number one for Omaha this year, as world record holder Missy Franklin looks to earn a chance to defend her 2012 Olympic gold. However, in 2012 her seed time sat at 2:05.10, where she’s carrying a 2:06.34 into 2016’s meet.

The women’s 100m butterfly is in the same boat, as Dana Vollmer entered 2012 with a time of 56.47 in the event compared to this year’s 56.94. Vollmer took time off after her son was born, so the fact she has a slightly slower seed time is more a product of how long she’s been back in the water.

As with the men, there are 3 women’s events where the 3rd seed from the 2016 psych sheets is faster than the top seed was back in 2012. In the women’s 400m freestyle, Chloe Sutton‘s 4:05.19 was the quickest time headed into Omaha, whereas the top three this year are all well beneath that mark. Katie Ledecky scored the top seed in 3:58.37, with Leah Smith and Cierra Runge behind in marks of 4:03.33 and 4:04.55, respectively.

The sprint freestyle events saw their landscape change in much the same way, with Madison Kennedy, Simone Manuel and Ivy Martin all seeded in 50m freestyle times faster than Jessica Hardy’s top seed of 24.63 in 2012. In the 100m freestyle race, Manuel, Franklin and Vollmer all carry swifter seed times than 2012’s top swimmer headed into the meet, Franklin with a time of 53.63.

Below is the complete comparison of the top 3 seeds from 2012 psych sheets versus the 2016 psych sheets for the women’s events.

2012 Top Seed 2012 2nd Seed 2012 3rd Seed EVENT 2016 Top Seed 2016 2nd Seed 2016 3rd Seed
Beisel, 4:31.78 Leverenz, 4:35.60 Hoff, 4:37.51 400 IM DiRado, 4:31.71 Beisel, 4:31.99 Leverenz, 4:35.46
Sutton, 4:05.19 Schmitt, 4:05.40 Hoff, 4:05.50 400 Free Ledecky, 3:58.37 Smith, 4:03.33 Runge, 4:04.55
Soni, 1:04.91 Hardy, 1:05.90 Chandler, 1:07.17 100 Breast Meili, 1:05.64 King, 1:05.73 Hannis, 1:06.16
Schmitt, 1:55.04 Franklin, 1:55.06 Vollmer, 1:56.47 200 Free Ledecky, 1:54.43 Franklin, 1:55.49 Schmitt, 1:56.23
Coughlin, 59.12 Franklin, 59.18 Bootsma, 59.65 100 Back Coughlin, 59.05 Franklin, 59.38 Smoliga, 59.41
Adams, 2:06.76 Hersey, 2:06.89 Crippen, 2:06.93 200 Fly Adams, 2:06.33 McLaughlin, 2:06.95 DiRado, 2:07.42
Franklin, 53.63 Coughlin, 53.67 Vollmer/Schmitt, 53.94 100 Free Manuel, 53.25 Franklin, 53.43 Vollmer, 53.59
Soni, 2:20.69 Beard, 2:24.30 Lawrence, 2:24.62 200 Breast Lawrence, 2:22.04 Sogar, 2:23.54 Meili, 2:23.69
Franklin, 2:05.10 Pelton, 2:07.48 Beisel, 2:07.82 200 Back Franklin, 2:06.34 DiRado, 2:08.19 Beisel, 2:08.33
Kukors, 2:09.12 Leverenz, 2:09.39 Pelton, 2:10.02 200 IM DiRado, 2:08.99 Margalis, 2:10.20 Leverenz, 2:10.35
Hardy, 24.63 Weir, 24.70 Joyce, 24.86 50 Free Kennedy, 24.45 Manuel, 24.47 Martin, 24.62
Vollmer, 56.47 Magnuson, 57.32 Coughlin/Donahue, 58.05 100 Fly Vollmer, 56.94 Worrell, 57.24 Stewart, 57.82
Ziegler, 8:21.59 Sutton, 8:24.05 Ledecky, 8:25.85 800 Free Ledecky, 8:06.68 Mann, 8:21.77 Runge, 8:24.69


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Joe Carrol

The times (with the exception of Ledecky) are similar across the board. As a question are we approaching the limits of human performance?


The top times across the world say otherwise.


I think Katie was seeded at 8:25 in 2012


Ledecky’s time was so far behind the top two seeds at the 2012 trials (and we all know what happened there.) Awesome.

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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